Election Day 2000 has finally put a stake through the heart of the longest and most mind-numbing election campaign in the history of the human race.
There are plenty of lessons to glean from this painful experience, from the need for campaign finance reform to the necessity of something about the dearth of truly inspiring leaders. But Bites isn’t going to talk about any of that. Not this week.
Instead, let’s all just take a deep breath and appreciate the sweet sound of political silence. So enjoy your week, savor the peace, and come on back next week for Bites’ take on the powers-soon-to-be.
Protest Bites, please: Week after week, Bites writes biting truths, calling the liars “liars” and the idiots “idiots.” So why doesn’t Bites get protesters? Where are the angry mobs threatening to boycott the paper unless Bites is ceremoniously sacrificed?
Yet if Bites is longing for the sweet thrill of being burned in effigy for some semi-noble sentiment voiced in this space, then Bites is choosing the wrong targets.
Gray Davis, Chuck Quackenbush, Bill Jones, members of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Bee, law enforcement associations or any of Bites’ other recent targets just aren’t likely to take to 20th Street with picket signs. The powerful will rarely deign to respond to even the most bitter barbs of Bites or others.
But for the powerless, protest is one of the only weapons in their paltry arsenal, and it’s one they can wield with the wild abandon of someone fighting for their lives or protecting the crumbs of power they do possess.
When television host Bill Maher was in town a couple of weeks ago, taping an episode of Politically Incorrect at California State University, Sacramento, the Greater Sacramento Area Chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was screaming, “Jihad!”
Decrying the “racism and outright bigotry” Maher displayed in lambasting Palestinian parents for allowing their children to raise hell in the streets of the Middle East, Arab-American protesters raised some hell themselves, picketing the broadcast and angrily denouncing Maher.
The Maher melee followed another media-related fracas, when Sacramento radio station KZZO’s afternoon loudmouth Rick Chase got skewered by the area’s gay and lesbian community for dissing drag queens on the air.
The station was hit with loads of angry calls, e-mails and letters after Chase expressed resentment over the station’s wacky morning crew’s invitation of cross-dressers to a station-sponsored river cruise, reportedly warning, “If any guys show up wearing dresses, I’ll toss them in the river.”
Station officials said it was just a joke and that Chase has threatened to throw all kinds of people into the river. While dismissing it as a misunderstanding, station honchos were also sufficiently contrite with the lavender lobby, avoiding a major hullabaloo by apologizing and offering free air time to some homosexual groups.
Shortly after that peace accord, Chase was absent from the air for two weeks, a stretch of time that station muckity-mucks and DJs said was simply a vacation, but that others speculated might have been a punitive suspension.
But Bites ain’t buying the absence-as-punishment theory. Radio these days is all about sensational and salacious grabs for ratings, so something as controversial as a suspension would probably be played to the hilt, not swept under the carpet.
Besides, Chase at his most offensive still sounds only PG-13 compared to KWOD’s Nick Monroe on his recent profanity-laced “please fire me” verbal bender, in which he tried in vain to get a paid absence-as-punishment break by viciously ripping some of Sacto’s favored icons, such as Kings point guard Jason Williams.
Yet don’t think Bites is going to bend to this bout of protester-envy. It’s one thing to be outrageous simply to get listeners, viewers or readers, and quite another to speak outrageous truths simply out of outrage at the truth.